It is time to find new ways for young people to enter and stay within the labour market. These are sentiments echoed by Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator CEO Maryana Iskander in an interview with Newsroom Afrika's Ayanda Nyathi.
Speaking on the lack of suitability of certain qualifications to address the country's labour market crisis when it comes to employability, Iskander admits that this does indeed form part of the problem.We see many examples examples of qualifications that don't respond to what the labour market needs. If I just take the digital sector as an example everybody talks about needing to give young people more specific digital skills.
Iskander continued, "As Harambee and with many partners we conducted a specific survey that said which actual qualifications in the digital space have available jobs."
"For example, if one can find a way to become an Amazon certified web-developer, there are many many jobs, but if we're just gonna keep giving generic digital skills that don't speak to the opportunities that are available, we're also in the end investing in qualifications that aren't gonna result in a young person earning more income", she continues.
Speaking on availability of employment opportunities on a long term basis for the youth, Iskander points out that this norm is almost non-existent in this day age and that this is not a problem that is only unique to South Africa.
"I think that in the world everywhere, before the pandemic, but certainly accelerated by the pandemic, the kind of vision of getting a permanent job that you're gonna have for the next fifteen years or twenty year no longer exists for anybody. So that even just for young South African but certainly the case here" she explains
"We have to find ways to keep stacking up opportunities that may be more short-term, may be in your community, they maybe a way of signaling to the labour market that you are gaining skills. The formal economy which the statsSA report confirms is where most employment happens and growing the formal economy has to remain plan A,B,C,D,E and all of the above" She says.
Furthermore, according to Head of Policy at the Democratic Alliance, Gwen Ngwenya's opinion piece, the impact of the current unemployment figures extend far beyond just the and that the long terms consequences maybe more severe than expected.
"It is not just the young who are at risk. There are also significant consequences for older workers, for whom long term unemployment means they enter retirement inadequately prepared."